Indoor TrackRunning on FullThursday, December 22, 2005 By Alex Gorelik
Despite their numerous achievements over the years, hundreds of record-setting performances in the last ten years, two new state records just in the span of last year’s season and many wins, the Walter Johnson indoor track team is still one of the least followed and known teams in the school and over time the team has simply gotten used to it. "Most people here don't pay attention to us, and we're really kind of like a ghost team," said indoor track team head coach Tom Rogers. This team in the past few years has brought WJ some record-breaking athletes, such as ex-seniors Danny George and Andrew Jesien. "Though many of our other runners have stepped it up [since then,] … we lost some strong seniors in Danny George and the infamous Andrew Jesien,” said four year team member and senior Julian Stern. "The place where we're always the weakest is the field." Another senior, Sarah Shpak, said, "Our track events always seem stronger than some field events. We have very few throwers and jumpers, and would probably be a better team if we had more.” Although getting more people on the team would be a plus, not everyone can handle or wants to handle the work and effort that comes with being on this team. "It's a very hard sport, and not everyone wants to do it," said Rogers. The team members themselves agree, saying that it takes a lot of dedication and passion for the sport. "The meets are a good distance away, and take up literally the whole day, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.,” said Shpak. “We practice every day after school, whether it’s sunny, pouring rain, or snowing, [though] we shovel the track first if it’s snowed,” said Stern. The indoor track team members handle these circumstances, often taking top places at the statewide meets. Although the reasons for the team members' success probably vary from person to person, the intensity and regularity of the practices as well as the coaching, almost certainly serve a key role in their achievements. “Our coaches are awesome,” said senior Hilary Moen. “Mr. Rogers and Mr. Martin are amazing, and then we have Mr. Lockard who is a volunteer sprinter who ran at Maryland and then Brian Graves' dad who is distance,” said sophomore teammate Chris Moen. “They were all runners and they are really encouraging at practice and passionate about the sport.” The Moens are some of this year's team's true highlights. For boys, the list also includes seniors Alex Le, Joe Welch, and sophomore Ian Francis. For girls, juniors Jenny McCoy, Stephanie Alberico, Amanda Lindsay, and senior Sara Price, all of whom have done well in meets in previous years. "This is not the best team we've ever had, but I think we're going to do really well this season," said Rogers. The past few meets, where the team took five first places, and one of both second and third places indicate that the coach may have been just right.